"I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado - taking you with it - you have no choice but to go along, you know?
Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a yellow brick road - but even that's crumbling.
What happened? Dorothy.
They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission."
Dorothy Must Die is set in the same place as the children's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Most people would immediately recall the classic tale of another world with bright colors and forget the Kansas of brown, white, and gray. The books aren't set in the same time. In fact, Dorothy Must Die comes after the time Dorothy comes back to Oz. Unsatisfied with her ordinary and plain life back in Kansas, Dorothy seeks more power and magic. She, with Glinda (Good Witch of the South) who has turned evil, rules Oz in a very wicked way.
This brings us to Amy Gumm. The sole narrator, she speaks of her terrible life as an outsider in Kansas. (I'd never actually read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but I watched the movie adaptation.) She has some similarities with Dorothy, but after her arrival in Oz, nothing is ever the same. Oz is different, and it has become a much more darker version of itself. She is a full character, who discovers her true self in a magical world. Trained by many Wicked Witches, Amy becomes a rival to Dorothy and her fight is just the beginning.
Her journey through Oz is shocking, and the moving and swifty plot comes with twists and surprises. Nothing is what it seems, and the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, the organization Amy works for and allies with, has its own dubious goals. Amy plays a game of espionage and lies and magic. With every bold move she makes, the closer she dances with death. The storyline moves quickly, and adventure is promised and delivered without hesitation.
Nox is Amy's love interest. They are both trained by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and they share many similarities. The chemistry is there, though Nox's alliance with the Wicked Witches bring drama. Still, there is potential in their relationship.
Princess Ozma is one of the most interesting characters of all. Not the Wizard, who manages to be an actual wizard and not a fake one. Not Amy. Not Dorothy, who is vain and spoiled beyond normal means. Not Nox. Princess Ozma has a certain depth about her, and she is the heart of Oz. Young and charming and slightly insane, she brings a third party, a new card, to the table. She is an entertaining and deadly card of ace, in her own right. She can be worth eleven or one.
In conclusion, Dorothy Must Die is an adventurous book with hidden agendas, magic, and a girl-turned-warrior/assassin. The writing style of Danielle Paige is smooth, and the fighting scenes are amazing. The first book has set everything up in preparation for the sequel. Never before has a retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz been so interesting.
Rating: Four out of Five